Prithviraj, an actor I reasonably admire, has issued a video after the film’s release saying it is a crime to reveal the film’s suspense after seeing it. A bigger crime, if you ask me, is making viewers sit through this long stretched-out whodunit where foreplay is all. The payoff is so puny and unconvincing, it is almost laughable. This is one of those misguided suspense thrillers whose architects think they are too clever to be making films in a third-world country. So the shots are ‘European’—camera peering from behind the sofa, under the bed, inside the refrigerator, etc. Poor cinematographer Girish Gangadharan. I worry for his back and neck.
And all for nothing. The film is finally as scary as the day your wife pulled a prank on you by telling you straight-faced that your mother-in-law is coming to stay permanently. All the characters in Cold Case take themselves too seriously. They seldom smile and nobody cracks a joke. They probably know the film is the biggest joke of all. Deadpan is the chosen form of expression by all the actors, none more so than Prithviraj who was a livewire an expressions ki dukaan with Rani Mukerjee in Aiyaa.
Aiyyo! That was long ago. Prithvi has sobered down now. In Cold Case (the title is a ‘dead’ giveaway as the victims’ body is stuffed into a fridge) as the investigative cop Sathyajith (wow, that is indeed so subtle) Prithvi carries a uniform what-the-fuk-am-I-doing-here expression throughout. His stoic face gives away nothing (probably because there is nothing in the script to give away). The only time Prithvi’s face breaks into a smile is towards the end. That, dear friend, is the expression Dr Manmohan Singh had on his face when he finally stepped down.
Meanwhile—yes, sadly it’s not over yet—in another part of the plot a single mother, an investigative journalist Medha (Aditi Balan) struggles to bring up a rather annoying little girl who seems rather obsessed with an ugly doll. The over-inquisitive maid wants to know why Medha gave up on a husband who didn’t beat her up after getting drunk. She has a point. Apart from Aditi Balan’s Medha all the important female characters are weird: a stupid bully (Medha’s boss’ wife), a bizarre occultist (Suchitra Pillai) who made me laugh every time she started her mumbo-jumbo, and an avaricious killer …There, I’ve committed a ‘crime’. I have revealed that the killer is a woman.
Hang me, sue me. But first, please get the brains behind this numbskull whodunit which starts with a buried skull and ends with a sniggering doll. What can we say about a film wherein the most expressive character is a refrigerator which has seen better days. So has the suspense thriller. Directed by Tanu Balak, Cold Case gets 1 and a half stars.
Image source: Instagram/therealprithvi